Preview: Challengers Await Dorostkar At Dana Hills

San Diego stars Carlie Dorostkar (right) and Skyler Wallace went 1-2 at Dana Hills in 2018 and highlight a talented girls invitational field for the 2019 meet on Saturday. (Credit: Frank Bellino)


On tap this weekend is the 46th annual Dana Hills Invitational! Known for its fast times, ideal weather conditions and its spectator friendly course, some of the best programs from the San Diego Section make the quick trip up the coast to take on Orange County's top squads.  

With the meet split into three sessions (divisions), split by grade levels, the action kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Division 1 Boys Senior/Invitational section.  As those boys are finishing up on the track in the stadium, the Division 1 Girls Senior/Invitational section takes off at 8:15 a.m!  Division 2 begins at 10 a.m. while the smaller schools begin their portion at noon. 

Projected to be overcast all day long, and only a couple miles from the ocean -- the weather will be perfect for fast times!  


The Division 1 winner in 2018, Carlie Dorostkar is already off to a strong senior season (Credit: Frank Bellino)

In regard to the best San Diego County offers, all eyes will be on, perhaps, THE best in all of California this Saturday morning in Canyon Crest Academy senior Carlie Dorostkar!  She steamrolled, not only the competition, but the all-time list as her performance was the third fastest EVER in the storied Mt. Carmel Invitational.  On the 2.75 mile course, her 14:44.6 ranks up there as one of the best efforts in the nation thus far in 2019 and perhaps, more impressive than the top efforts at the Woodbridge Invite.  She crossed with a 16:49 victory here last year, but will be within range of breaking the course record of 16:16 (held by Capistrano Valley's Haley Herberg from 2017).  Stay tuned...!    

Dorostkar will not be alone though as a very talented group will challenge her.  The top 10 from last year's Invitational section were all underclassmen.  Fellow San Diego section foe, Skyler Wallace of Sage Creek, was second here a year ago in crossing in 16:52.9.   San Clemente's Hana Catsimanes was third (17:01.6) while Santa Ana's Maria Hernandez excelled with a 17:16.9 for fourth place.  All three of coming off solid performances at Woodbridge last weekend.  Capistrano Valley's Carly Corsinita will also be up for the challenge to break the 17-minute barrier!

Great Oak's 'B' squad will compete for their girls, but keep in mind that the lineup slated for this weekend averaged 18:02 at the Woodbridge Invite last weekend.  Senior Aubrie Nex rolled to a 17:44.9 last weekend and leads her group, that also feature five others that ran under 18:25.   They will to look to hold off a revamped San Clemente group and Division 4 State Champions, Sage Creek!   Beckman and Aliso Niguel also square off, as we have both teams tied for fifth in our recent Orange County rankings.   


On the boys' side, Ben McKenna of Aliso Niguel is the top returner from a year ago, crossing with a 14:45 sixth place finish.  But watch for Dana Hills' Carrick Denker to have the home field edge.  He rolled to a 14:52 performance at this invite in 2018 and was third in the Invitational portion at Mt. Carmel last weekend. 

Coming in hot, Great Oak's Austin Montez, the Division 1 Sophomore winner here in 2018, will compete for his 'B' squad.  The junior is coming off a monster 14:30 victory in the Rated race at Woodbridge. Others of note include Jose Magana (Godinez), Andrew Schulz (Canyon Crest Academy), and Sean Robertson (Capistrano Valley).  Robertson has put in a solid September that include two sub-14:40 efforts at Rosemead and Woodbridge.  

The top six squads in this week's Orange County's team rankings will square off in that senior/invite portion in the early morning.   The improved Beckman squad is looking to prove why they are ranked third in the OC, while San Clemente's boys also continue to progress into a possible State Meet group. 

On the surface, this looks to be a battle between Dana Hills and El Toro.  While Dana Hills plans on racing all of their top guns, El Toro will be resting out their varsity groups.   

But the actual favorites are Great Oak's 'B' team!   The group they are employing (while their top kids train) is still one of the best in all of California.  In running our preseason numbers, we had their 'B' team still favored to capture the SS-Division 1 title.  Based on last weekend's Woodbridge Invite, their starting five in this weekend's lineup averaged a spectacular 14:54 (74:31)!  That would have yielded them a third-place finish in the Sweepstakes race last weekend!  And they are also throwing in Parker Smith, who rolled to a 14:50 at Cool Breeze earlier this month.   This is a 'B' team?!?!